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Navy and Marine Corps Medical News 


September 29, 2000 

Navy and Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) is a weekly 
compendium of news and information contributed by commands 
throughout the Navy medical department . Information contained 
in MEDNEWS stories is not necessarily endorsed by Navy Bureau of 
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) , nor should it be considered 
official Navy policy. 

BUMED distributes MEDNEWS to Sailors and Marines, their 
families, civilian employees and retired Navy and Marine Corps 
families. Further distribution is highly encouraged. 

Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after a Navy 
medical professional 's name to show affiliation: MC — Medical 
Corps (physician) ; DC - Dental Corps; NC - Nurse Corps; MSC - 
Medical Service Corps (clinicians , researchers and 
administrative managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and Dental 
Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of their names. 


Contents for this week's MEDNEWS: 

— Corpsman saves a life 23, 000 feet in the air 

— LIFELines 2000 "web—a—fies" health care access 

— Pharmacy data system enhances beneficiary safety 

— Natural Fire— 2000 in Kenya, Africa 

— Anthrax question and answer 

— TRICARE question and answer 

— Healthwatch: What to do when bacteria fight back 



Headline : Corpsman saves a life 23, 000 feet in the air 
By: HMCS Dan DuBois, Medical Company, CSSG-3 

KANEOHE, Hawaii - What began as a routine trip from Los 
Angeles to Boston, turned into an unexpected venture for HM3 
Ricardo Tubbs. 

About one half hour after takeoff. Northwest flight 944 was 
travelling 23, 000 feet over the Rocky Mountains when a flight 
attendant requested that any medical personnel on board come to 
the front to assist another passenger . 

Tubbs, from Medical Company, CSSG-3, answered the call. 
When he arrived at the front of the aircraft, he found a 69— 
year-old man having chest pains and shortness of breath. 

With supplies from the aircraft medical bag, Tubbs placed 
the man on oxygen, a cardiac monitor and began a physical 
assessment . 

The monitor showed the patient was in atrial fibrillation, 
a potentially life threatening problem that causes a decrease of 
blood circulation. 

The flight landed in Minneapolis , MN, so that the patient 
could be transferred to the care of local paramedics. 

"Tubbs was sharp and extremely compassionate, " said Dr. 
Richard Deichert, a trauma emergency room physician at Loma 
Linda University Hospital who assisted Tubbs on the flight. "He 
had excellent clinical skills and was a great medic. " 

Once again, the quick and capable response of one of Navy 
Medicine's professionals made a difference in someone's life. 


Headline: LIFELines 2000 "web—a—fies" health care access 
By LIFELines public affairs 

WASHINGTON - Cyberspace assistance is coming to naval 
hospitals, medical service centers and service providers as fast 
as the facilities can web— enable them. 

From Bremerton to Rota, medical and dental services that 
Sailors and their families used to stand in line for are now 
being offered online at naval medical facility web sites. And 
LIFELines2000 , the Navy and Marine Corps multi-media service 
delivery network, is bringing them together in one place. 

Pharmacy refills previously available in— person or at best, 
by the phone, are now available online at Naval Hospital 
Okinawa, Japan, at This 
facility serves as the major referral center for more than 
196,000 beneficiaries in the Western Pacific. 

Naval Hospital Rota, Spain, is taking the first steps in 
online medical appointments with an initial offering of Well 
Baby visits at rota— mm Mothers wishing an 
appointment need only fill out an online form and the next 
available appointment will be scheduled with the family's 
primary care manager. Appointments are based on the best pre- 
selected times for the patient. Notices are delivered by e-mail. 

At Naval Hospital Bremerton, a unique service has come 
online that is sure to warm the hearts of deployed parents, 
distant grandparents and relatives. It's called Web Babies. 
Pictures of the newborn and family are produced within hours 
after the birth and placed on the Bremerton Hospital web site at with the information on the name, 
gender, weight, length, and time of birth. 

Not to be outdone, TRICARE Central is now providing online 
enrollment in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Prime Remote. If you live 
in the TRICARE Central service area you are eligible to sign-up. 
Enroll at Of course you must be registered in 
the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) . 

You may check out all these cyber-services at one 
LIFELines location, 

www. . asp. 

If your medical /dental facilities are offering services 
online, contact LIFELines at and they will be added to 
the official Navy quality of life services network. 

Those interested in more details about LIFELines2000 should 
contact Capt . Bill Hendrix via e-mail at or Dr. Rudy Brewington at 
brewington . rudolphQhq. navy .mil . 


Headline: Pharmacy data system enhances beneficiary safety 
From Humana Military Healthcare Services 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Department of Defense 's new Pharmacy 
Data Transaction Service (PDTS) has been successfully 
implemented and for thousands of beneficiaries it will increase 
safety when prescription drugs are dispensed at different 
military facilities . 

The PDTS is intended to serve as an integrated record of 
all pharmacy services received by TRICARE beneficiaries, 
regardless of the source of those services. 

Previously, DoD beneficiaries had their prescription filled 
either by the MTF's, TRICARE contract civilian retail 
pharmacies , or the National Mail Order Pharmacy . Each of these 
programs maintained a separate prescription profile of each 
beneficiary . 

But with PDTS, each prescription will be edited against a 
beneficiary's total pharmaceutical history before it is filled, 
regardless of which pharmacy is chosen. The integration will 
identify potentially harmful drug interactions , duplicate 
treatments and check for refills that are requested too soon. 
The system will also allow for drug utilization review edits of 
all pharmacy claims within the MHS. 


Headline: Natural fire— 2000 in Kenya, Africa 
From Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton 

CAMP PENDLETON, Ca . -In an effort to focus on humanitarian 
assistance and disaster relief training for the coalition armed 
forces of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the United States, the 
First Medical Battalion, First FSSG, Camp Pendleton, created a 
medical detachment for Brigade Service Support Group-1 in 
support of Natural Fire-00. 

"With a medical detachment of 26 personnel, the make— up was 
quite basic, but the end results were phenomenal, " said 
Detachment Commander Ensign Steven Bailey, MSC. "Most 
importantly, our coalition support from Kenya, Tanzania, and 
Uganda mirrored our medical detachment . Without them we would 
have been able to do only minimal medical and dental treatment 
for the host nations because of the language barrier. " 

The six remote sites that were visited each day during the 
14-day exercise gave all medical providers the opportunity to 
diagnose and treat illnesses such as Malaria, Dengue and 

"The basic medical awareness training will have the most 
lasting effect on the villages because the training will be 
passed from generation to generation, " said Bailey. "The 
medications will run out and illnesses may return, but the 
training will continue . " 


Headline: Anthrax Question and Answer 

Question: Is there a requirement for long-term follow— up 
after the anthrax vaccine is administered? 

Answer: No. Just like other FDA— licensed products, the 
anthrax vaccine does not require follow-up monitoring of healthy 
vaccine recipients. Nonetheless, the DoD has already conducted 
such studies and is conducting more. No data collected to date 
shows any patterns of adverse events developing years after 
people have been vaccinated with anthrax vaccine or any other 


Headline: TRICARE Question and Answer 

Question: Does TRICARE Prime cover long-term care? 

Answer: Prime will cover long-term health care to the 
extent that CHAMPUS does today, that is, noncustodial, skilled 
care. Please discuss specific care requirements with your local 
Health Benefits Advisor. 


Headline: Healthwatch: What to do when bacteria fight back 
By Edward Moldenhauer, Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital 

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Ca . -As we enter the 21st century, the 
impending improvements in medicine are mind-boggling. However, 
one of the most troubling aspects of these advances is that many 
of our previously treatable bacterial infections may no longer 
respond to antibiotic therapy. Bacteria are starting to fight 

The prevalence of antibiotic— resistant bacteria is on the 
upswing. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 
vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections rose from 0.3 
percent in 1989 to 17.3 percent in 1998. Another report 
demonstrated that our usually susceptible Escherichia coli (E. 
coli) infections might show a 22 percent resistance to 
ampicillin and 23 percent resistance to 
sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (Bactrim/Septra) . 

The net result of these studies indicates that the use and 
misuse of antibiotics are major factors in this public health 
threat. In the future, patients may be exposed to bacterial 
infections that are untreatable. 

So what can we do about it? As members of the Navy 
Healthcare Team, we have several responsibilities to our 
patients : 

Decrease the unnecessary use of antibiotics. Not every 
cough, cold or runny nose requires the use of an antibiotic . 
Stand firm with a patient who demands an antibiotic. Perhaps all 
the patient needs is medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) , 
pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or diphenhydramine (Bendryl) to help 
reduce the symptoms. 

Correct choice and dose of antibiotic therapy. Select the 
optimal antibiotic and dose it appropriately. The recommended 
doses are just that - recommendations. 

CounsBl patients concerning completion of therapy. It is 
important that every member of the healthcare team reinforce the 
importance of antibiotic therapy completion. Even when a 
child's ear ache begins to feel better in three to five days, it 
is important for the treatment to continue. 

If both patients and healthcare providers are aware that 
antibiotic resistance is a major public health threat, perhaps 
we can minimize its further development. All that is required is 
a simple reminder to finish all of this medication or a 
telephone call at the five— day mark to remind and reinforce 
medication compliance. 

We, as medical providers, are the best hope for minimizing 
this threat to our health. 


Comments about and ideas for MEDNEWS are welcome . Story 
submissions are highly encouraged. Contact MEDNEWS editor, 
at email:; telephone 202—762—3218, 
(DSN) 762, or fax 202-762-3224.